Over the years blockbuster fantasy series Game of Thrones has come under fire many times for its depiction of violence and nudity onscreen, with some critics arguing that the show’s use of such techniques adds little to the action and actually detracts from some scenes.
However, it now seems like the series is fighting back – because in a newly-released deleted scene, similar concerns by characters WITHIN the series are roundly mocked.
Let us explain. During series six earlier this year, a handful of episodes featured a play in the free city of Braavos that saw actors retell the story of Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and Tyrion Lannister, aka the early seasons of Game of Thrones.
Unfortunately, the play’s depiction of events was woefully inaccurate (Joffrey was nice, most damningly), puerile and full of fart jokes, with many fans amusedly pointing out that Arya’s (Maisie Williams) reaction to such moments echoed fans of George RR Martin’s original source novels when watching the series’ adaptation.
However, there may have been even more meta-joking around in the original cut, which sees this exchange between two viewers of the play (in the video below around 5.50).
“Violence AND profanity,” one woman comments archly while watching the action. “How original.”
Later, when the actress playing Sophie Turner’s Sansa Stark reveals her breasts onstage, they became even more incensed, decrying the scene as “disgusting and unacceptable” and “utterly gratuitous,” the latter almost taken word-for-word from various descriptions of Game of Thrones’ use of nudity.
Arya’s reply to the women – “Why don’t you just leave then?” – is probably a familiar frustration to showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss when longtime viewers of the show continue to complain. Notably the two women keep on watching, and visibly enjoy a few of the puerile scenes in what may be a dig at viewer hypocrisy – or it could just be a funny scene that’s we’re reading too much into.
Either way, it’s not hard to see why this scene was left out of the finished product – the play scenes were pretty long as is, and if this was intended as a dig at show viewers it’s a little on the nose.
Still, it’s interesting to see what might have been, and imagine how the programme-makers react to their criticism. Here’s hoping for an extended scene where Littlefinger explains to everyone how he travels around Westeros so damn quickly next year.